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LOZELLS TENSION CLAIMS ARE "RUBBISH"

19-02-2010

Claims of serious tension in Lozells following the acquittal of three men charged with the murder of Isiah Young-Sam have been rubbished by community activists – with one telling The Stirrer relations “have never been better”.

Government gangs’ advisor Derrick Campbell told BBC WM yesterday that there was serious risk of a flare-up between members of the African-Caribbean community and the police following the “not guilty” verdicts handed down on three men who had previously been convicted of killing Isiah during the 2005 riots.

The trio - Waqar Ahmed, Azhil Khan, and Afzal Khan - were subsequently cleared on appeal, and again walked free this week after a retrial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Campbell emphasised that the issue wasn’t between black and Asian people but, rather, between the black community – who felt let down by failures in police evidence – and the cops.

That’s not how Maxie Hayles of the Birmingham Race Awareness Monitoring Unit sees it.

He told The Stirrer that “everything isn’t rosy” and that there is “still a long way to go” to improve community relations, but he said, “I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s about to blow.

“The police have improved. They’ve done a lot of work, there have been a lot of improvements.”

Waseem Zaffar, a Labour activist and community worker in Lozells, described Campbell’s comments as “rubbish”.

He said: “Relations with the police have never been better. Lozells is a real success story. If we have a police liaison meeting 100 people will turn up; if the Council have a meeting there are usually about three people there – which shows how trust has grown in the police.

“We don’t need people from outside stirring things up in Lozells. That’s what happened in 2005”.

Derrick Campbell has so far been unavailable for comment.

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